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6 posts tagged "Duro Olowu"

Inside Duro Olowu’s World of Rebellion


Duro Olowu
Duro Olowu

Two years ago, London-based designer Duro Olowu brought a collection of globally sourced inspirations to Salon 94′s Freeman Alley space. The wares were combed from all over the world—from his birthplace in Lagos, Nigeria, to the quieter corners of his adopted hometown—and included such cherished ephemera as vintage Parisian Deco wallpaper and feather-lined lamps from Uganda.

Now Olowu is expanding upon his 2012 show with More Material, an exhibition that opened last night at Salon 94 on the Bowery and brings together works from the likes of Carrie Mae Weems, Juergen Teller, Cindy Sherman, Laurie Simmons, and more, alongside colorfully curated home items from vintage dealers near and far.

“The show is really an extension of my last show,” related Olowu. “[This time] I really wanted to show the rebellious side of women, the way they’re represented, and the way they represent themselves with elegance—elegant rebellion.”

Duro Olowu

Swooping fashion illustrations by Antonio Lopez (“They’re very, very alluring without being vulgar—a new rebellion,” noted Olowu) rest alongside documentary street photography from Sandy Kim (“I just see a cool tomboy who wants to have fun”) and more overtly political/feminist-leaning works from Weems, Sherman, and others. As in the case of the original rendition, there’s also a shop selling new Duro Olowu pieces, as well as artworks—a Lopez, a Lorna Simpson—and hand-selected vintage house and jewelry objects.

“It’s going to be up for a month and a half, and I’d love for people to experience the beauty and integrity of the incredible mix of artists and ceramics and great jewelry and just feel empowered,” said the designer. “I’d like young girls, older women, and middle-aged ladies to feel empowered by wanting to be individual.”

Photos: Courtesy Photos

Is Africa Fashion’s Next Big Thing?


What’s the next big thing in fashion? Lately, signs are pointing to Africa. For starters, Franca Sozzani dedicated the entire May issue of L’Uomo Vogue to celebrating the continent’s intrinsic allure and creativity. This year’s International Herald Tribune Luxury conference will examine the growing African middle class as an emerging consumer as well as the region’s potential for manufacturing. And last night, Essence editor in chief Constance White led a panel discussion entitled Design Africa, where she and political journalist Chika Oduah held forth with Rogan and Loomstate co-founder Scott Hahn, Suno head of production Nadiyah Bradshaw, and Bantu swimwear designer Yodit Eklund about the future of design on the continent.

The consensus: There’s plenty to be done, but the potential is great. “China did not become China overnight,” Bradshaw said, going on to explain how at Suno, she helps Max Osterweis and Erin Beatty find ethical workshops and factories and effectively create needed job opportunities in places like Kenya. Panelists mused on the potential of African manufacturing and hoped that one day, a “Made in Nigeria” tag would be as highly regarded as a “Made in Italy” or a “Made in France” one.

In the meantime, people like panelist Enyinne Owunwanne (the founder of online African fashion retailer Heritage 1960) are working to promote Africa’s rising design stars. Owunwanne works with promising up-and-coming designers including Jewel By Lisa and The Summit, as well as artisans in South Africa, Nigeria, and Rwanda, which she features on her site. “Until recently, Africa has largely been underserved within the global fashion and design scene, but the continent has always been chock-full of amazingly talented designers and artists,” Owunwanne told “It was only a matter of time before the world stage started to give due recognition to the talent stemming from Africa. Diasporan trailblazers such as Duro Olowu and Ozwald Boateng set the stage for an appreciation of African designers. The fashion industry has barely tipped the iceberg with African designers and inspiration coming from the continent, though. There is so much more to discover—this is truly just the beginning!”

Photos: Courtesy of Passion Projects NYC

The World Of Duro


“For me, fashion, art, music, textiles, film, etc., it’s all very intertwined. This is basically a collage of things I like, which is what my work is about,” explains London-based designer Duro Olowu of his New York art show and pop-up shop, opening today at Jeanne Greenberg Rohatyn’s Salon 94 Freeman Alley gallery.

In the mix, there’s photos by Juergen Teller (Olowu and the photographer have collaborated on various shoots) and art by Laurie Simmons on display, as well as an eclectic selection of books, records, and clothing for sale. “We have limited-edition pieces from my Spring collection, vintage jewelry from Pierre Cardin, textiles from couture fabric makers, and a T-shirt collaboration I did with Tory Burch,” says the designer. Proceeds from the T-shirt (“a mash of prints by both of us,” says Olowu), $75, will go to the charity of their choice. This temporary New York shop is likely to lead to something more permanent in the near future: “I have been looking for a space in New York—this would be exactly the kind of store I would have.”

Duro Olowu‘s pop-up shop is open through March 5 at Salon 94, 1 Freeman Alley, NYC.

Photo: Courtesy Photo

The Art Set Toasts Duro Olowu


Just who is the customer for Duro Olowu’s intensely arty, vibrant patchwork dresses (this season inspired by Picasso)? Who else but intensely arty, vibrant women? At a lunch today on the sixth floor of Barneys, in addition to co-hosts Amanda Brooks and Olowu’s wife, Thelma Golden, the director of the Studio Museum of Harlem, there was Nicola Vassell, a director at Deitch Projects; the gallerist Jeanne Greenberg Rohatyn; the textile designer and art collector Olya Thompson; and the artist (and Thakoon Panichgul and Peter Jensen collaborator) Laurie Simmons. The lattermost was fresh off a plane from the South by Southwest Festival, where, as she put it, her daughter Lena Dunham’s film Tiny Furniture “just cleaned up.” Simmons co-starred in the movie with her other daughter, so she was still “flying.” She wasn’t the only one. Olowu’s color-block dresses (pictured), sweaters, and two-tone trench were flying off the trunk sale racks.

Photo: Gisela Torres / Courtesy of Duro Olowu

Duro Olowu, Jasper Conran, Valentino, And More Make Tees For Haiti


Ask a designer his thought of the day during fashion week, and more often than not, you’ll get a frantic bit of last-minute show prep. But the ten designers commissioned for On/Off’s pop-up shop at London fashion week were sending good vibes. They had good reason to. The brains behind On/Off—LFW’s quirkier sidekick schedule—asked ten designers, including Duro Olowu, PPQ, Jasper Conran, and Bora Aksu, to contribute their thoughts and designs for limited-edition T-shirts (donated by Edun Live) to benefit Plan UK’s Haiti relief efforts. The £30 shirts have been selling thick and fast all week at On/Off. The thoughts here include “Breath,” “Laugh,” “Dare to Care and Share,” and “On the other hand, I’d like it if you did.” But as to which designer contributed which, your guess is as good as ours—the organizers kept the individual contributions anonymous. Olowu did let us in on his secret, though—his shirt reads, “Ayiti Cherie,” an old Creole phrase Haitians use to express love for their country and culture. “A disaster and suffering of such magnitude needs as much aid as it can get,” Olowu said. And to that end, as many T-shirts as he can make. The initial total run of 100 T-shirts met such a high demand that more are being made. For more information on purchasing those, visit

A similar good-cause idea occurred to Valentino’s Maria Grazia Chiuri and Pier Paolo Piccioli, who helped kick off Milan fashion week with a fête for their T-Shirt Couture line (pictured) and Stefano Guindani’s book of photographs of the Haiti. Their new, delicately ruffled white tees are also being sold to benefit Haitian charities. And while these shirts cost more than their London counterparts, the benefit to the ravaged country is all the greater. The tees are available for €250 online and in Valentino’s Parisian and Milanese boutiques during their respective fashion weeks.

Photo: Courtesy of Valentino